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US news anchor retracts incorrect story about coming under fire in Iraq

NBC’s Brian Williams later apologised for the error.

A U.S. NEWS anchor has been facing criticism after retracting a story he told about facing gun fire while reporting on the war in Iraq.

Brian Williams, who fronts NBC’s Nightly News programme, had previously said that while reporting in Iraq in 2003 a helicopter he was travelling on was hit by RPG and AK47 fire.

Earlier this week, Mike O’Keeffe, an Army sergeant with the 159th Aviation Regiment that was involved in the incident, told Stars and Stripes magazine – a publication focused on the activity of the US Army – that the aircraft Williams was on was flying about an hour behind the three Chinook helicopters that came under fire.

Source: Michael Rusch/YouTube

O’Keefe decided to voice his side of the story after hearing Williams repeat the story on NBC coverage of a tribute to a retired Command Sergeant Major at a New York Rangers ice hockey game.

Williams later apologised on his Nightly News programme, saying:

I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago. It did not take long to hear from some brave men and women in the air crews who were also in that desert. I want to apologise.

“I said I was travelling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft,” he went on. 

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The hashtag ‘ChopperWhopper’ appeared on social media during the week with people discussing the implications of the story.

Speaking to Stars and Stripes magazine, Lance Reynolds – a flight engineer aboard one of the aircraft that was hit, said that the incident “was something personal for us that was kind of life-changing for me. I know how lucky I was to survive it.”

It felt like a personal experience that someone else wanted to participate in and didn’t deserve to participate in.

Source: Shazzy Mazzy AR1/YouTube

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